Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oregon OKs CBR terminal expansion

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One day after Oregon denied a permit for a coal export terminal on the Columbia River, a separate state body has approved plans to expand a crude-by-rail (CBR) transfer terminal serving trains and barge traffic.

The state Department of Environmental Quality, which among other duties regulates clean air, granted permission to Global Partners LP on Aug. 19, 2014 to expand its oil train terminal near Clatskanie, Ore., to an eventual 1.8 billion gallons of oil per year. The department also approved an oil spill plan for the terminal.

Barges loaded with oil will travel to refineries in Washington state and California, circumventing rising protests by environmentalists and other parties in both of those states objecting to CBR movements.

The terminal expansion also will double the potential number of trains serving it, up to 50 CBR trains per month, according to local media. Clatskanie lies roughly 60 miles northwest of, and downstream from, Portland, Ore.

On its website, Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners LP defines itself as "a midstream logistics and marketing company" involved in "the logistics of transporting Bakken and Canadian crude oil and other energy products via rail, establishing a 'virtual pipeline' from the mid-continent region of the U.S. and Canada to refiners and other customers on the East and West coasts."

Global Partners CEO Eric Slifka said the state permit clears the way for restarting ethanol production, as well as unloading CBR. "We are pleased to have received our permit, which is the next step toward infrastructure upgrades that will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and new permanent jobs when the facility is fully operational," Slifka said.

The terminal, built originally to handle ethanol fuel production, was granted a permit change in 2012 to begin handling CBR instead of ethanol.

Oregon's Department of State Lands on Monday, Aug. 18, denied a permit for construction of a coal export project on the Columbia River to bolster international coal export.